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View Full Version : Is the United States a Democracy? or a 'Money-ocracy'?


Volcana
Apr 25th, 2006, 09:56 PM
Okay, trick question. The United States was never a democracy, it's a republic. (The difference, for those who don't know, is that in a democracy, the leader is elected by direct vote of the citizens. In a republic, the citizens vote for representatives, and the representatives vote for the leader.)

But that's not really what I was getting at.

At this point, as a practical matter, it is the amount of money, rather than the number of votes, that controls who's elected to higher office. (I'm putting aside the issues of voter suppression, and rigged computerized voting machines fron the past two presidential elections. I'm strictly focusing on money.)

It's takes hundreds of millions of dollars to run for President. (In some stated, it can take tens of millions to run for the Senate.)


Wealth in the USA is distributed very unevenly. A very small percentage of the people control most of the wealth.
Consequently, most voters don't ever even HEAR most Presidential candidates. In 1992, for example, 250 people ran for President. In 2004, 13 parties appeared on the ballot as Presidential candiates, plus another 30 or so individuals as independent ot write-in candidates.

Perhaps worse, if a candidate gets less than 1% of the vote, their individual results aren't reported. Think about that. If 60 million people cast ballots, and 500,000 vote for you, it's not even reported!

True, it's still the votes the are ultimately counted, but people aren't machines. After months of hearing that only two, or at best three candidates are worth voting for, most people actually believe that. They don't even know what the platform of the Constitution Party, or the Personal Freedom party, is. Basically, for the most part, only candidates with big money even get a chance to compete.

So, is 'Money-ocracy' the better description?

thalle
Apr 25th, 2006, 11:05 PM
it's a bit late here, so I read money as monkey... but I would vote for money and monkey-ocracy!

controlfreak
Apr 26th, 2006, 12:50 AM
So, is 'Money-ocracy' the better description?

Is that the American word for 'plutocracy'? :p

GracefulVenus
Apr 26th, 2006, 12:55 AM
Our form of Government is inadequate. When the majority of the country disagrees with the things our leaders are doing or the decisions they are making for us, we can do little or nothing about it, except post messages on message boards and ask the rest of the world for forgiveness. Sad..........just sad.

Volcana
Apr 26th, 2006, 03:20 AM
Is that the American word for 'plutocracy'? :pNo, though I can see how you could make that mistake. It's been made before. See 'Kevin Phillips' below

From wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutocracy)A plutocracy is a form of government (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_of_government) where all the state's decisions are centralized in an affluent wealthy class of citizenry, and the degree of economic inequality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_inequality) is high while the level of social mobility (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility) is low. This can apply to a multitude of government systems, as the key elements of plutocracy transcend and often occur concomitantly with the features of those systems. The word "plutocracy" itself is derived from the ancient Greek root ploutos, meaning wealth.
The term plutocracy is generally used to describe two unrelated phenomena. In writings about history, plutocracy is the political control of the state by an oligarchy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligarchy) of the wealthy. Examples of such plutocracies include some city-states (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City-state) in Ancient Greece (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greece) and the Italian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italy) merchant republics of Venice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice), Florence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence), and Genoa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genoa). Kevin Phillips (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Phillips), author and political stategist to U.S. President Richard Nixon, argues that the United States is a plutocracy in which there has been "the fusion of money and government" [1] (http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_phillips.html)

Plutocracies typically emerge as one of the first governing systems within a territory after a period of anomie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomie). Plutocracy is closely related to aristocracy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristocracy) as a form of government, since wealth and high social status have been closely associated throughout history.

I disagree with Phillips, referenced above. In that state, what we have in the USA is something close to fascism. Defined by Mussolini as 'the fusion of the corporate and government interests'. For example, the Bush administrations current plan to turn over control of the internet to corporate interests, in that case telecom companies. The citizenry, who tax money built the internet, derive no benefit from this, but corporations make a killing. Same thing with hiring so many contractors in Iraq. It turns out to be a much MORE expensive way to wage war, but a lot of corporations are making a lot of money.

The USA fails the three part test of a traditional plutocracy in that

a) the state's decisions are centralized in an affluent wealthy class of citizenry
If we define the state as the FEDERAL government, this test rests on the definition of the term 'centralized'. State decisions are not the exclusive province of the wealthy, but they call the United States Senate "The Millionaire's Club" for a reason. It takes a lot of money just to get into the House of Representatives.
b) the degree of economic inequality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_inequality) is high
No arguement, the level of economic inequality is VERY high.
c) the level of social mobility (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility) is low.
Possibly yes. You can move from the lowest to the highest levels of society in the USA. Look at Bill Clinton. But how many people actually do?
Hmmmm.... actually, pretty close to a plutocracy at that, but closer to facist. Nice catch.

alfonsojose
Apr 26th, 2006, 03:52 AM
oil-whore-cracy

RJWCapriati
Apr 26th, 2006, 03:53 AM
'Money-ocracy'

CJ07
Apr 26th, 2006, 05:31 AM
I think its more of a knowledge-ocracy.

because there are more people without money than those with it, they actually have the real power. However, collectively they are uneducated and don't realize this power, and therefore yield to those with money.

If the lower classes used its power in numbers, outside of out right illegal actions money would only do so good.

Pheobo
Apr 26th, 2006, 06:13 AM
It's no secret that our country is run by large corporations.

Solitaire
Apr 26th, 2006, 06:23 AM
It's all about MONEY and it's not just the US.

CooCooCachoo
Apr 26th, 2006, 08:27 AM
I am afraid the huge investments in campaigns illustrate how much politics, most notably in the US, revolve around Money Money Money.

"Sluggy"
Apr 26th, 2006, 09:04 AM
In what country is money or Social Status not a factor in elections?

JustineTime
Apr 26th, 2006, 01:41 PM
Mob-ocracy. :shrug: :tears:

tennislover
Apr 26th, 2006, 02:44 PM
both things

SelesFan70
Apr 26th, 2006, 05:35 PM
It's all about MONEY and it's not just the US.

Amen to that..

TdF_DBLL
Apr 26th, 2006, 07:05 PM
In what country is money or Social Status not a factor in elections?

It is in a factor in almost every election, but some choosen leaders will make their promises real. And in the USA it looks like they just say one thing and after they are choosen they do the other thing. Those leaders are just big fat liars and I suppose for the 'poor' people those things must be very frustrating.

John A Roark
Apr 26th, 2006, 07:13 PM
No, though I can see how you could make that mistake. It's been made before. See 'Kevin Phillips' below

From wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutocracy)

I disagree with Phillips, referenced above. In that state, what we have in the USA is something close to fascism. Defined by Mussolini as 'the fusion of the corporate and government interests'. For example, the Bush administrations current plan to turn over control of the internet to corporate interests, in that case telecom companies. The citizenry, who tax money built the internet, derive no benefit from this, but corporations make a killing. Same thing with hiring so many contractors in Iraq. It turns out to be a much MORE expensive way to wage war, but a lot of corporations are making a lot of money.

The USA fails the three part test of a traditional plutocracy in that

a) the state's decisions are centralized in an affluent wealthy class of citizenry
If we define the state as the FEDERAL government, this test rests on the definition of the term 'centralized'. State decisions are not the exclusive province of the wealthy, but they call the United States Senate "The Millionaire's Club" for a reason. It takes a lot of money just to get into the House of Representatives.
b) the degree of economic inequality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_inequality) is high
No arguement, the level of economic inequality is VERY high.
c) the level of social mobility (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility) is low.
Possibly yes. You can move from the lowest to the highest levels of society in the USA. Look at Bill Clinton. But how many people actually do?
Hmmmm.... actually, pretty close to a plutocracy at that, but closer to facist. Nice catch.
I HATE YOU!
But only because logic sucks, and it is becoming increasingly illogical to continue to defend the way this country is moving.
And you--you had to point that out.
Thanks a lot, there, buddy.

I mean it, really--thanks. I have perhaps been a little too blind to the faults of the leadership of this nation.
I still insist that, all-in-all, the U.S. is still the greatest country on earth.
But the farther away we get from the principles that got us there, the deeper we dip into a mire that looks hard to get out of.

TdF_DBLL
Apr 26th, 2006, 07:18 PM
That a nice way to indicate your country's problem. You all think you are the best and you can make rules for the rest of the world. It's just a bit of arrogance that make people hate your country. And I don't say it's the people fault. But the people who represent your country, Bush for example, just makes us think like that about the USA.

CooCooCachoo
Apr 26th, 2006, 07:29 PM
I love the Free-Speech-Zones in the USA :haha:

CooCooCachoo
Apr 26th, 2006, 07:29 PM
By the way, we call a money-ocracy just a plutocracy :)

Mercury Rising
Apr 26th, 2006, 07:45 PM
I still insist that, all-in-all, the U.S. is still the greatest country on earth.
Based on? I wonder if those millons of poor people agree with you on that.

TdF_DBLL
Apr 26th, 2006, 08:37 PM
They maybe do because of the indoctrination by the US authorities

Lord Nelson
Apr 26th, 2006, 09:35 PM
Based on? I wonder if those millons of poor people agree with you on that.
That is his opinion. Obviously others may have another country in mind. To me the U.S. is indeed the greatest nation on Earth, maybe to you it is Saudi Arabia or some other nation.

*JR*
Apr 27th, 2006, 01:04 AM
I love all this populism from ppl who brag in GM about how many millions their favorite tennis players are making in endorsements. (Which are ridiculous anyway, as if buying said products gives one some kind of connection with the players).
:shrug:

Volcana
Apr 27th, 2006, 03:49 AM
In what country is money or Social Status not a factor in elections?First of all, I'm NOT talking about 'social staus'. That's trivial.

Corporate money dwarfs the amounts controlled by individuals. I could give a shit where paris Hilton spends her money. I care a LOT about where Bechtel spends. That said, there are a lot of ways to make money less of a factor. In the USA, we have three things that together become a problem.

a) A lot of money to spend on campaigns.

b) An unlimited amount of time to spend on campiagns

c) A very extensive mass media

If there wasn't so much money around, the poorer candidates would be more able to compete. If the time to campaign was less, say, two weeks or so, Big Lie technique wouldn't work as well as it does in the USA. If the mass media wasn't so pervasive, smaller voices from various places in the country wouldn't be drown out so effectively.

But in a country with as many guns in it as the USA, the continuation of this trend is going to end in VERY bloody fashion.

Mercury Rising
May 1st, 2006, 06:37 PM
That is his opinion. Obviously others may have another country in mind. To me the U.S. is indeed the greatest nation on Earth, maybe to you it is Saudi Arabia or some other nation.I still haven't got a reason why that is. There has to be a reason why this is your opinion, no?

And no I think North Korea is the "greatest nation", whatever that means :rolleyes:

kiwifan
May 1st, 2006, 07:14 PM
Insecure Euros. :haha: Greatness is Subjective and we are the Greatest


I've been all over the "Western World" and haven't seen anything better. :devil: :p :devil:

John A Roark
May 1st, 2006, 07:18 PM
I still haven't got a reason why that is. There has to be a reason why this is your opinion, no?

And no I think North Korea is the "greatest nation", whatever that means :rolleyes:
I don't know about you, Nelson, but I have no idea how to respond to this character.

Wigglytuff
May 1st, 2006, 07:32 PM
blah blah blah
I still insist that, all-in-all, the U.S. is still the greatest country on earth.


seriously, have you lived in every country on earth? not like visited for a weekend but actually lived there? if so please let us know what criteria you used to make that rating. and if not how can you talk about places you haven't lived? what makes that acceptable? what gives you the right? or are you so superior that you dont need to live in these places to assess that they are not the greatest... are you so cool and so right on that you have some magic powers to just know? :confused: